The Secret Dentist – time to get off the NHS dentistry fence

successThis month The Secret Dentist calls on organisations in dentistry to say NHS dentistry is not fit for purpose.

In my last blog two months ago, I wrote about the ‘war’ which had just started in Ukraine. It is amazing how just two months later the conflict is almost becoming ‘normal’.

It doesn’t reduce its horror or the decrease the urgency of the need for the world’s continuing support to help Ukraine defeat Russia.

One thing it does emphasise though, is how being exposed to something horrific on a regular basis actually reduces its intensity to our psyche. It seems to become slightly less horrific.

Clearly challenging a country as large and powerful as Russia, which is seeking to wipe out a comparatively small, adjacent country requires the rest of the world not to just condemn the action but to actively, and constantly, support the smaller country in its fight.

This must go on until ‘right’ is seen to prevail.

NHS dentistry

Whilst clearly nowhere near the same level of brutality, some might say similar sentiments to the above could apply to NHS dentistry in general dental practice.

We know it is wrong, we know it is a failed system. We know it is harming more recently qualified dentists, we know it is harming patients. And we know it is harming staff.

So, what are we doing about it?

In my opinion, not a lot.

So, who in dentistry is the equivalent to the rest of the world in the case above? Who can take on the big, nasty mandarins in the NHS? Those who for decades have abused the deliverers and receivers of NHS general dental treatment.

Who can call out NHS dentistry?

There are a number of organisations who now need to get off the fence and call out NHS general dental practice for what it is.

  • The BDA – stop talking behind closed doors and effectively achieving nothing
  • The GDC – state that the current NHS contract is incompatible with anybody achieving the base level of professional behaviour it expects
  • The CQC – say the same as the GDC
  • The LDCs – run mainly by a bunch of older dentists who have had their cake and are eating it. Apart from taking an automatic levy from all who work in the abusive relationship to fund themselves, what have they achieved?

It is interesting to note that one of the main focuses for the likes of the Association of Dental Groups and those owning NHS contracts is to try to get thousands of overseas dentists into the UK to do the work that increasingly, more recently qualified UK graduates cannot, for their own sanity and financial security, do.

More having cake and eating it?

Whilst the seniors in our profession appear incapable/unwilling of changing anything to do with NHS general dental practice, I would encourage every single dentist in the UK to actively move towards private/independent practice.

Talk to colleagues, go on courses, seek mentors. The future is in your hands if you take the long-term view. Slowly but steadily move to take control of your own life. Rather than having the NHS and senior dentists dictate it to you.

Onwards and upwards towards the future.

Catch previous Secret Dentist columns:

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